Return to Hope Island, S. Puget Sound, WA 29 Apr-1 May 2016

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by alexsidles, May 3, 2016.

  1. alexsidles

    alexsidles Paddler

    Jan 10, 2009
    Seattle WA
    I had such a good time on Hope Island back in February, I went back there at the end of April with my wife, Rachel. The weather was gorgeous, and we spent hours hiking around the forest and reading on the beach.

    Hope Island is chock full of interesting native plants. We brought an ID book with us and taught ourselves to recognize all sorts of species. The new ones we learned were Vanilla-leaf, Pacific Ninebark, Pacific Crabapple, Saskatoon, Cleavers, Broad-leafed Starflower, and Highbush Cranberry. We also encountered many old favorites, include Evergreen Huckleberry, which was absolutely everywhere, Scouler's Willow, Lady, Bracken, and Sword Ferns, and the ubiquitous Salal. Many of the shrubs were in bloom, which made identification much easier than it would have been back in February.

    Most of the seabirds had already left the south sound to head out to their breeding grounds. We only saw a few Pigeon Guillemot, a couple pairs of Surf Scoters, and a few Common Mergansers.

    The lack of seabirds was made up for by the abundance of spring migrants on land. The island was crawling with Pacific-slope Flycatchers, the first of the season. We also encountered a beautiful singing Wilson's Warbler. Rachel and I spent an enjoyable last morning wandering through the Red Alder groves looking for these insect-eating birds.

    Back at the launch point in Boston Harbor, I stopped to take a few pictures of the Purple Martin colony there. Residents had put out nest box to attract these large swallows, which love to nest in holes over water. The boxes were a big success, and I estimate there were about thirty Purple Martins swooping around, hunting bugs, chasing each other, and fighting over females. The males are deep purple, and the females are lovely shades of brown. They were all singing their musical, liquid songs as they whipped around the sky.

    There wasn't actually a whole lot of kayaking on this kayaking trip. We spent most of the time enjoying each other's company in the beautiful, serene landscape of Hope Island. The brief paddles across the flat, gentle waters to and from the island served as pleasant bookends to a beautiful couple of days. Hope Island is a genuine treasure.

  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    May 31, 2005
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Re: Return to Hope Island, S. Puget Sound, WA 29 Apr-1 May 2

    Beautiful photography, great narrative. Purple martins fascinate me. The marina at Ladysmith, BC, Gulf Islands area has a lot of those nesting boxes, also, and a live camera feed focused on one inside the marina office.